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Antique Safes/Is the safe worth anything


D.matthews and son
D.matthews and son  

Hi  I have had this safe for over a year it was given to me after my grand mother passed away I was just wondering If it was worth anything because I can't find much out with the name on the front

Hello Kevin,

Thanks for your question.

The name on the safe is almost certainly a distributor not the maker.  My best guess is that the safe is an early '12 corner bent' Britannia made by the Guardian Safe & Steel Furniture Company, in Wombourne, West Midlands and probably dates from the 1930's.

It should have provision for anchoring through the base and although it is not a particularly sophisticated safe it does have an anti-explosive relocker so I would expect UK insurers to cover the contents for 3,000 cash or 30,000 domestic valuables provided it is anchored.

It is hard to give it a value.  If you took it to auction you could get 300+ but you have the problem of getting it there and if it doesn't sell, you have to bring it back again.  It looks to be in very good condition for its age and probably would do well on ebay.  It is worth watching a few similar safes to see what they fetch.  Ignore the 'Buy Now' listings as they invariably ask too much and they don't sell.  Make sure you specify, 'buyer collects'.


Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

Antique Safes

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Mike Palmer


I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.


I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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